A country that has never shown minorities respect does not deserve their respect
Minorities have never been treated fairly by the government meant to protect them. The American flag might represent safety and prosperity for white Americans, but it has represented suffering and discrimination for Americans of color. Such a flag and country do not deserve their respect.
America has never been good to African Americans. From the country’s very beginning, African Americans were there because they had been kidnapped and shipped away from their homes to labor for the prosperity of America’s economy. When they were finally emancipated after decades of struggle, Jim Crow forced them into job markets of chronically undervalued occupations and addresses of chronically high crime rates. During the Great Depression, the programs of the New Deal institutionalized their suffering by creating racial disparities in wages and the government benefits people could receive. Even today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and many other anti-discrimination agencies still remain the most severely underfunded, and African Americans cannot walk onto the streets without feeling unsafe and unprotected. For some Americans, the flag might stand for a country that has helped them and their families for generations. Those Americans can and should respect the flag and anthem. However, African Americans like Colin Kaepernick have never been the benefactors of the American system. He owes nothing to the flag because it has rarely protected him throughout history. A country is supposed to help its citizens climb up, not serve as an extra barrier or obstacle for its citizens to survive. The flag has been, at best, an empty label for African Americans, and at worst, an active enemy against their ability to succeed. Respect needs to be earned, and the American flag certainly has not earned the worthiness of being respected by African Americans.
America might not have been the best to its African Americans, but every country has its problems, every government has its flaws, and no history will ever be perfect. One can find instances where the government failed to represent the nation and the people for almost any demographic in America. Despite America's flaws, there’s still much to respect when it comes to the country and flag as a whole. In World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the War on Terrorism, and the silent daily battles that come with running a country, the government fights for the benefit of all. Even if there is more to love in America for the white majority than for the black minority, the country has still done considerable things for everyone's good. As long as there is something you love in the country, it is the government that has fought to protect it. The men and women who have fought behind the flag might not be all good, but they are also not all evil. Of the millions of people who died for the country, there must have been at least one good person, and we owe it to them to respect their flag and kneel when an anthem plays to commemorate their sacrifice.
[P1] America has only hurt African Americans. [P2] African Americans owe nothing to the government and flag that's never been there for them.
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P1] America might not be perfect, but it has helped African Americans [Rejecting P2] African Americans at least owe it to the individual people who fought and died for America to kneel during the anthem.